Five Offbeat Comedy Tactics That Are Hilarious When Done Right

Billy Madison

There are lots of “straight up” comedy methods out there that work very well.  And by straight up I mean things like a curse to lighten up the mood or someone hitting their head on the wall for an easy laugh.   These types of ploys don’t take much thought or creativity.  That doesn’t mean they aren’t awesome.

But on a much more subtle level are your weird references or lines that some people might say “huh?” to.  These are some of the things I happen to love in comedies.  They were very prevalent in the Adam Sandler prime years and some other movies you may have seen.

They also exist on some comedy shows of today.  But here are five specific examples of offbeat comedy tactics that work very well if done right

Exhausting Repetitiveness


Some people hate it.  But I happen to enjoy it.  Perfect example?  Family Guy.  Any time Peter hurts himself and writhes in pain 18 times it’s funny.  The chicken fights?  It’s so exhausting that it’s actually funny.

Long Stares/Dead Silence


This is a Norm MacDonald tribute.  I happen to be a huge fan of Norm and he was the king of the uncomfortable stare and silence during weekend update.  People didn’t know what the hell was going on when he’d say something ludicrous but if he stared at you in silence for long enough, you just had to laugh.

“Appropriate” Randomness


I got one phrase for ya.  Sloppy Joe lady in Billy Madison.   I mean how weird was that?  OK maybe Farley getting a handjob from the Penguin was more random but I think you guys know what I mean.  It’s one thing to be random because it’s just dumb, it’s another to find really funny random concepts which I think the old school Sandler stuff did quite well.

Obscure References


Family Guy tends to do this quite often.  Hell, Hot Rod used the soundtrack from Midnight Express in one of its scenes.  I love when a movie pays homage to something that I feel like very few people will get.    Or how about the Cool Beans scene?

Odd Musical Pairings


The best example I can use is the torture scene in Reservoir Dogs when Steeler’s Wheel’s “Stuck in the Middle With You” is playing.  Many times odd music is used in weird and cryptic movies but it’s also used in comedy.  How about Billy Madison when you first see Steve Buscemi’s character?   Remember the music when he’s putting on makeup?

In any event, I love when movies use this weird stuff in addition to your typical laugh methods.


  1. Cheryl April 20, 2010
  2. Nattyb April 20, 2010
  3. Nonpopulist April 20, 2010
  4. Henrik April 20, 2010
  5. Jeff April 20, 2010
  6. masshole April 20, 2010
  7. snowden April 20, 2010
  8. Orleanas April 20, 2010
  9. Sam April 20, 2010
  10. matt April 20, 2010
  11. fluffy April 20, 2010
  12. Madison April 21, 2010
  13. jaromir April 21, 2010
  14. Mightyfaker April 21, 2010
  15. Candee April 21, 2010

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